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Second man arrested for 1975 slaying of Canadian-born aboriginal activist
 
Canadian Press (CP)
Tuesday, December 02, 2003
By Greg Joyce

VANCOUVER (CP) - A man wanted in the 1975 slaying of a prominent Canadian member of the militant American Indian Movement has been arrested in
Vancouver, his lawyer said Tuesday.

John Graham, also known as John Patton, was arrested Monday by city police
acting on a warrant, said lawyer Terry Laliberte. Graham is wanted in South
Dakota for first-degree murder in the death of Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash, a
Mi'kmaq born in Pictou Landing, N.S., whose frozen body was found in
February 1976. She had been shot in the head.

Pictou-Aquash was among the Indian militants who occupied the village of
Wounded Knee for 71 days in 1973.

A standoff between members of the American Indian Movement (AIM) and
government-backed factions led to the deaths of two FBI agents, among
others.

Leonard Peltier, another well-known AIM activist, was convicted of the
murder of the two agents.

Vancouver police spokeswoman Const. Anne Drennan said Graham was arrested
after police were tipped in a 911 call.

Graham appeared briefly Tuesday in B.C. Supreme Court, where Canadian
Justice Department lawyer Deborah Strachan said the U.S. is seeking his
extradition.

He is to appear next for a bail hearing on Dec. 17.

Graham, whom his lawyer described as an aboriginal from a Yukon band, has
been living in Canada for some time.

"He's been in Canada for years," said Laliberte. "In the 1990s, the U.S.
marshalls went up to the Yukon and interviewed him. He's been accessible and
already been interviewed about this."

The lawyer said he wasn't sure how long Graham had been living in Vancouver
but it was "the last year for sure."

Graham faces the murder charge along with American native Arlo Looking Cloud.

Extraditing Graham from Canada could take time, so prosecutors still plan to try Looking Cloud. His trial is set for February in Rapid City, said U.S.
Attorney James McMahon of South Dakota.

Looking Cloud is a Lakota Indian who grew up on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota.

A March 20 indictment accuses Graham and Looking Cloud in the fatal shooting
of Pictou-Aquash, 30, around Dec. 12, 1975. They would serve mandatory life
prison terms if convicted.

In a 2000 interview with the CBC show The Fifth Estate, Graham denied any
involvement.

He did acknowledge being with Pictou-Aquash when she left Denver, though he said she was not kidnapped.

The connection between Peltier and the Canadian woman was renewed last May
when Peltier filed a libel lawsuit over an editor's note that linked his case to the killing of Pictou-Aquash.

The lawsuit names as a defendant Paul DeMain, editor of News From Indian Country, a newspaper based in Wisconsin.

The lawsuit quotes from an editor's note published in March in which DeMain
said, "The primary motive for the murder of Annie Mae Pictou-Aquash by other
members of the American Indian Movement in mid-December 1975, allegedly was her knowledge that Leonard Peltier had shot the two agents as he was
convicted."

Peltier, who is serving two back-to-back life sentences in Leavenworth, Kan., called the editor's note defamatory.

According to the FBI, agents Ron Williams and Jack Coler were killed in June 1975 as they searched on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation for robbery suspects. Both were shot in the head at point-blank range after they were injured in a shootout. Their bodies were left on a dirt road.

There has been speculation over the years that Pictou-Aquash killed by AIM
members because she knew some of them were government spies, while others said she was killed because she herself was an informant.

Laliberte said Graham "is denying emphatically any involvement with her death whatsoever."

"They were both activists in the AIM," he said. "He has never denied to anyone that he didn't know her and was not with her during that summer.

"But he is denying is that he had anything to do with her demise and in fact they were on the same side of the fence."

Copyright  2003 Canadian Press (CP)